Monday, November 14, 2011

Pheaturing Scott H. Biram

You knew that I was coming 'cause you heard my name, but you don't know my game and never felt my pain. Can't read my brain but you read my lips, and got scared when you heard that I was coming with hits. What? I am sorry, I thought I was still at the Kid Rock show. Welcome to the Peverett Phile, you know you are in denial, I wrote so many entries, print them out, and they'll be a mile. Okay, I am not exactly Kid Rock. Straight outta Groveland, baby! How are you? Me? I am freakin' tired. Orlando Calling was great. Everybody put on good shows that we saw. Buddy Guy, who is 75, could blow a lot of them young kids. And Kid Rock says a lot of bad words in his show. Bob Seger looked like a little old man up on stage, but he sure can rock. And I smelt pot at the Doobie Brothers show. You woulda thought? They said that this was probably the first and last Orlando Calling as it didn't make money. didn't make money? A hundred dollars a ticket, twenty-five dollars for parking, five dollars for a bottle of water, sixteen dollars for an ice tea, fries and chicken tenders and thirty-five dollars for this Orlando Calling t-shirt I am wearing right now. They made money. Alright, what else is going on? There was another Republican presidential debate the other night. This one is focused on why there were so many Republican presidential debates. Mitt Romney said he created thousands of jobs at governor of Massachusetts. Rick Perry said he created thousands as governor of Texas. Herman Cain said he tried to create a number of jobs for women but now he's getting attacked for it all of a sudden. If I were Mitt Romney, I wouldn't show up anymore. I would just go to Hawaii and wait it out until the election, drink some caffeine free Diet Coke and watch Herman Cain and Rick Perry self-destruct. So, as I mentioned I saw Kid Rock last night, but it wasn't exactly what I thought. Take a look.

Kid and rock, get it? Man, chicks dig those skills. Did you hear Snoop Dogg and Kid Rock are making a TV show? Here is what it will look like.

As animated franchise spin-off contractual agreements go, Puss in Boots could have been worse. A lot worse. Think about the least inspired, most product-placement-riddled and irritating moment of the worst Shrek movie. It could have been like that. Happily for you and your kids, it's not. And you can thank: The screenwriters for maintaining Puss's consistency of character. I know that sounds sort of ridiculous to point out, but it's a real consideration. In the Shrek universe the joke usually wins over everything else, so it's good to see some character balance here. There's a reason Puss is the breakout sidekick from the original films and it's because he's a witty self-starter. If cartoons can be said to have integrity, then they maintain that here. Director Chris Miller and the animators for keeping the action moving forward instead of again, like it so often transpires in the Shrek movies, in an endless loop of pop culture references and smugness. And this is a simpler story than its predecessors are used to delivering; Puss and Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis) are on a mission to get magic beans from Jack and Jill in order to retrieve the goose that lays golden eggs. Along the way, Puss finds love with the mercenary Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) and fractured friend drama with the prickly, difficult Humpty. And while it's not going to become anyone's favorite animated feature of all time, it's a perfectly fine family film. Antonio Banderas's voice acting. He's had plenty of time to figure out this character and it shows. He's comfortable with voice comedy in a way he's never really seemed to be otherwise, which may actually just be the curse of any handsome actor. Winners are inherently less funny than losers or, in this case, cartoon cats. Zach Galifianakis, who takes Humpty Dumpty, of all characters, and turns him mercurial, emotionally complicated, manic, furious, unreliable and fascinating. The strange, sneering, toothy character design helps, too, but this is a Humpty with baggage and Galifianakis stretches out and steals his scenes. He's not too much for children, but he's plenty for adults to be weirded out by. Cats tango in this movie. Quite a bit. You never knew you wanted to see animated kitties dancing this much, but you do. Okay, good news delivered. Now the bad: Stay away from 3D screenings of this thing. Something was wrong. Either the film itself has been terribly processed into 3D, it was dark and murky, in the post-production stage or the theater I saw it in had their own issues with lighting and projection. I'm going to give the movie the benefit of the doubt and blame the theater, but this is a pervasive problem in multiplexes around the country and, with 3D ticket prices the way they are, it's inexcusable. If theaters aren't managed properly and projection quality for 3D movies is, more and more often, inept, thanks to a lack of attention and quality maintenance on the staff, then you should vote with your money and opt out. From 1 to 10, it gets a 6, so chances are I will not be buying it. 

Today's guest is an American blues, punk and country music musician, based in Austin, Texas, who The Dirty Old One Man Band. He has a really kick-ass new album called "Bad Ingredients" which is available on iTunes, and in cool record shops. He'll be next appearing at Media Club in Vancouver, Canada on November 15th. Please welcome a gentleman who I have been wanting to interview for awhile... Scott H. Biram.

Me: Hello, Scott, welcome to the Phile, sir. How are you?

Scott: Eh... Pretty good. Just got home from tour but seems nothing has slowed down. My record was released a few days ago. I've been playing in-stores and last night jumped on a party bus down to San Antonio and checked out a Judas Priest concert. One hell of a party!

Me: Okay, first things first, I have to ask you about your crazy accident in 2003. Tell the readers what happened.

Scott: Oh brother. It's always about the accident! Like I always say... I'm a musician, not a professional car wreck survivor. That wreck was almost 9 years ago! If you really gotta know, I was hit head on by an 18 wheeler as I was headed home from town to my house in the country. The driver wasn't paying enough attention and swerved out of his lane into mine. He hit me head on at 75 miles per hour. My truck was crushed. I was trapped in my seat. They had to use the Jaws of Life to get me out. My right femur was sticking out of my leg. My left knee was broken in 3 pieces. My right foot was broken. The bone was also sticking out of my right arm. They had to put me on a helicopter to the hospital and they thought I was going to die before I got there because my intestine had been ripped from my colon and I was bleeding severely. I ended up with metal rods and plates in every limb of my body except my left arm. I was really lucky to survive but not so lucky to be involved in the accident itself. I had 13 surgeries and was confined to a wheel chair for nearly 8 monhts. You can look up video of the aftermath on youtube if you want at and also more at or there are some still photos on It ain't pretty.

Me: Yeah, I have one of the pics here.

You played on stage a month later playing in a wheelchair with an IV sill dangling from your arms. How did the audience take this? I would of passed out if I saw this, Scott.

Scott: Do you pass out every time you see someone in a wheelchair? Heh. The audience was great! My fans have been very supportive of me over the years and they all seemed really happy to see me back on the stage so quickly. At least from what I remember. I was on alot of painkillers at the time.

Me: Anyway, you are a better and stronger man then I am. I complain if I have a migraine, or if my toe hurts. How are you feeling now?

Scott: I'm fine. It takes a little bit of crankin' me up like an old car to get me started sometimes if I've been sitting for very long. My knees hurt and pop all the time. It's a good thing I was already known for wearing these cheap velcro shoes! I'll never fully recover but I do what I can to make the most of what I've got. It could have been alot worse. I mean my best friend and his wife and baby were all killed in an auto accident 2 years after mine. I'm thankful to still be here.

Me: Scott, where are you from, sir?

Scott: I grew up about 30 miles south of Austin, Texas. I was born in Lockhart, Texas. The BBQ capital! I lived in a really small town called Prairie Lea, Texas until I was 10 or so. There isn't even a gas station in that town. It's really small. Our school was K through 12th all in one building. My grandfather was the shop teacher there. We moved to San Marcos, Texas when I was in 6th grade. San Marcos is the headwaters of the San Marcos river and home of what is now called Texas State University. It used to be called Southwest Texas State when I went there. I graduated from highschool and college in San Marcos.

Me: Scott, you are known as a one man band, and have called yourself Dirty Old One Man Band. Did you ever have a band and what made you choose to be a one man band? I guess it's cheaper, right?

Scott: I was in a few bands in highschool and college. I used to be in a punk band called The Thangs for several years. After that, when I was about 23, I put together a bluegrass band called Scott Biram and The Salt Peter Boys. I stuck with bluegrass music for quite awhile. I was in a band called Bluegrass Drive-by that toured around The U.S. for 3 or 4 years. When all those bands broke up I started booking my own tours and trying to get gigs in places I had already played with Bluegrass Drive-by. After awhile I realized I wanted to be playing in rock clubs, not coffee shops. So I figured I better start making some real racket. I liked the idea of amplifying the sound of me stomping my foot so I started toying around with different contraptions that I would build. I also started crankin' up the guitar through some amps and putting distortion on my voice. After awhile I got some huge speakers to run my foot stomp through. My wall of sound is really something to behold. As far as cheaper... gas costs the same for a van whether their are 2 people or 7 people in it. I don't have to split the money though...or at least I didn't. Now I've got managers, booking agents, roadies, record labels. I'm sure you get the point. Touring is far from cheap.

Me: I have a friend who turned me onto you named Jim who would like to ask you a few questions, Scott. 

Jim: You grew up listening to the blues, and you have played Woody Guthrie, Ledbelly, Muddy, and Big Bill Broonzy. What other influences do you have?

Scott: The list is huge! Lightnin' Hopkins, Merle Haggard, Bill Monroe, Jerry Reed, Doc Watson, Mance Lipscomb, Townes Van Zandt, ZZ Top, old Metallica (the old shit only!), Sabbath, Slayer, Butthole Surfers, Ministry, Misfits, Johnny Winter, The Dicks, Steely Dan, Thin Lizzy, Maiden... hell, there are alot of influences up in this bitch!!

Me: My dad was also into the blues, Scott. Did you listen to blues all your life? Do you have a favorite blues artist?

Scott: My dad used to listen to alot of Ledbelly and Lightnin' Hopkins when I was a kid. My earliest guitar knowledge was the blues. I couldn't say a favorite really. Lightnin' is the coolest guy that ever lived though! Heh. I love it all. I kinda worked my way up through the more acoustic blues from the 30's (and later in the folk revival of the 60's) and then into the electric stuff. I love Mississippi Fred McDowell, John Lee Hooker, Son House, Bukka White, but I'm also a big fan of the more electric style people like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Little Walter, Bo Diddley on and on and on man. I also read alot biographies of the people I listen to and cover. I don't like it when people cover other artists and they know nothing about them. I think that's fuckin' weak.

Me: Okay, let's talk about your new album, "Bad Ingredients". How did that get to be the title of the album? Bad ingredients in what?

Scott: I don't know. Just sounded cool. Who knows what state of mind I was in when I came up with that one. Bad ingredients in life I guess. Hell, I don't know.

Me: One of the songs on the album is called "Coon Dick Blues". Ummm... is that a cover or did you write it? What in hell is that song about, and how did you choose to write a song called that?

Scott: I think you mean the song " I Want My Mojo Back". I wrote it. It's my take on the old blues standard "Mojo Hand". It doesn't say coon dick BLUES. It says coon dick BONE. I'm referring to the penis bone of a racoon. Old cajuns sharpen them and stick them in their cowboy hats so they can pick their teeth with them. They're just a small bone. I have 3 of them that I keep in my mojo hand. Usually you would find things like John The Conqueror Root and Black Cat Bone in a mojo hand. I have some of that kind of stuff, but I felt like I needed one of those in there. My mojo hand has part of Muddy Waters shack in there, Jello Biafra's phone number, Carl Perkin's guitar pick, 3 coon dick bones, all kinds of stuff in there. Gotta keep that mojo workin'.

Me: On the album, did you do any covers, Scott?

Scott: I covered a Lightnin' Hopkins song called "Have You Ever Loved A Woman?" and a Bill Monroe song called "Memories Of You Sweetheart."

Jim: What is your favorite restaurant on the road?

Scott: Hmmmm... My favorite restaurants are mostly at home. Theres a fondu restaurant in Switzerland I like alot! ...uhhhh... I don't know... I love food. Italy is a great food destination. San Francisco's got some good restaurants. I don't eat Mexican anywhere but Texas if I can help it though. I eat alot of jerky in the van!

Me: Scott, how many albums have you had out? Do you like recording or playing live better?

Scott: I've made 8 records so far, 4 that I released on my own and 4 with Bloodshot Records out of Chicago. I don't have a favorite. I love playing live and recording can get to be a real pain in the ass but after I've been out of the studio awhile I get the itch again. I've recorded almost every one of my records myself, give or take 1 or 2.

Jim: Where do you write, Scott?

Scott: Ha! In the van, in the bed, on the can, in the shower, on the porch... wherever the words come to me!

Jim: On the road or at home?

Scott: On the road... at home. Like I said... anywhere. Everywhere.

Jim: And what do you think people will take from your songs 50 to 100 years from now?

Scott: Well if I'm dead... somebody's going to be taking my royalties! Eh, I don't know. I like to think that my lyrics go along with the raw human condition pretty well. So I think my songs will still be valid when I'm gone. I try not to put too much stuff in my songs that will get out dated. I don't name politicians or things like that very often. I want this stuff to still be worth something more than just novelty fodder when I'm gone.

Me: Jim has seen you in concert here in Orlando, Scott. Are you planning on hitting Florida anytime soon again?

Scott: Sorry Jim. Ha! I'll be back in Jan/Feb!

Jim: Do you go by a set list?

Scott: I go by several set lists. I know close to 500 songs. I usually keep a couple set lists with me onstage and only follow them loosely. I try to add songs here and there and take songs out if they don't go with the vibe of the night.

Me: I have to ask you about your guitar you play, Scott. What year and make is it? That's not the only guitar you play, is it?

Scott: I have 17 guitars. I usually bring about 4 with me on the road. I have my old trusty 59 Gibson hollow body electric, and then I have my Gibson Explorer metal guitar. I have a couple others because I use different tunings and it's alot easier than trying to change tunings in front of everyone. It saves time.

Me: Okay, Scott, what's next for you, sir? Any big plans for the new year?

Scott: Now that the record is out, we're going to see where it goes. I have several tours already planned through the beginning of next Summer. I'm hitting the West Coast here in the next few weeks. I tour close to 200 days a year. I tried to get a New Year's show put together with me, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and The Butthole Surfers. Ray was onboard but The Butt's agent said ".....aaaaand no." Sucks because I know some of those guys in the band and they would be on board.. Hell, I play through Paul Leary's old amp! I don't think the agent even ran it past them. Fuckin' politics. Whatever. We would have all banked and had a great time too. On to the next big idea I guess.

Me: Thanks so much for being on the Phile, and I hope you will come back again when the next album comes out. You are gonna be releasing a few other songs apart from the new album, right?

Scott: Well we released some free bonus tracks for people that pre-ordered the CD, also a 7" single with a b-side that's not on the record. We'll see what other kind of stuff pops up.

Me: Go ahead and mention your website and I hope to see you in concert soon. All the best, and be safe, my friend.

Scott: Thanks a lot. Yeah, my website is also I'm on Facespace and shitter... pretty easy to find. Thanks for interviewing me. Ozzy Rules!!

Well, that about does it for another entry of the Phile. I think it's nap time now. A special thanks to Jim Merlis for hooking the interview with Scott up and or helping out big time. You are a life saver, Jim. Thanks also to my friend Jim Wilson or asking better questions than I normally do. Okay, there wasn't gonna be a Phile entry until Sunday, but tomorrow there will be one. I have a list of people I wanna interview before I end the Phile, and one of them who is in my top five will be on the Phile tomorrow. Musician John Wesley Harding will be here. I am so excited. Then the Phile will be back on Sunday with singer Megan Burtt and on Monday it's singer Eddi Reader who was one of my dad's favorite female singers. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

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